im Wald Farm Geauga County, Northeast
Ohio since 1995
Articles of History:
From the Khamsat Vol 5, Num 4, Oct.'88
Excerpted from: POINTS
by Captain M. Horace Hayes, London, 1897
Chapter XXXII, Asiatic and North African Horses
We learn from General Tweedie that although Arabs
pay great attention to preserving purity of blood in their horses, they
have no written pedigrees of their animals, because they are illiterate.
They apply the general term, Kuhailan, to their pure-bred horses
in a manner somewhat similar to our use of the word "thorough-bred." We
read in The Arabian Horse, that the parent trunk of Kuhailan,
has produced four great branches (Saklavi, U'baiyan, Hamdani, and Hadban);
and that they, and it, are known in Arabic as al Khamsa (The Five).
Palgrave (Encyclopedia Britannica) tries to
make out that pure-bred Najdi horses are not exported. Tweedie shows that
this idea is entirely wrong, and that a large trade is done with India
via Kuwait (Grane). As the Najdi Arabs ride only mares, they are
naturally glad to get rid of their surplus entries at a remunerative price.
although they have a strong prejudice against selling mares for export,
liberal payment enables them to occasionally overcome that feeling. Experienced
Arab dealers whose friendship I have enjoyed, have often assured me that
many of the best and highest caste horses bred in the Desert are to be found
among the Arabs sent to India for racing...
"We do not know of an easier method by which
a European might see and buy Najdi horses prior to export that by stationing
himself from June to September in the well-oasis of Barjasia, a three
day's journey out of Kuwait. He would then be on the caravan route which
leads from Najd to the sea coast" (Tweedie).
The port of Kuwait is about 150 miles south
Palgrave (Narrative of a Year's Journey Through
Central and Eastern Arabia), Skene (Sporting Review, March,
1864) and others have insisted that there is
"blood and stride in the desert which has never been seen out of
"Not only do all the facts refute the argument
that Arabia contains better colts than those which she distributes,
but they go further. They show that every desert of which we have any
knowledge is so extensively stripped of its best blood-horses, that
not many likely colts of from three and five years old remain in the
hands of their breeders. If England possesses too many stud-horses,
Arabia retains too few. One may visit a considerable encampment of the
Aeniza and see no unweaned colts, except a few reserved ones an those
which dealers will not buy. The stock which these people always have
with them chiefly consists of well-tried mares, aged stallions and the
rising fillies" (Tweedie).
My friend, the late Esa Bin Curtas, who was a
large importer of Arab horses into Bombay, always maintained that the
best Arabs did not, as a rule, exceed 14.1 to 14.2 in height. From an
all-round point of view, this opinion is undoubtedly correct, especially
with regard to the true Sons of the Desert, the Najdi Arabians...Judging
by the Indian racing records of the past sixty years, the balance of
galloping excellence is a little in favor of big Arabs (those over 14.3)...Yet
during the respective times when Anarchy, Chieftain, Shere Ali, and
Turkish Flag raced in India, there were no faster Arabs than those brilliant
14 handers. Consequently, I see no advantage in an Arab being over 14.1.
The more an Arab exceeds, say 14.2 in height, the more inclined is he
to be long in the legs, light in the loins, and flat-sided. We may infer
from the foregoing remarks, that the typical Arab is, according to our
Western acceptation of the term, a pony.